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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  April 30, 2014 6:00pm-8:01pm EDT

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quorum call:
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quorum call: mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the call of the quorum be terminated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to a
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period of morning business with senators permitted allowed to speak for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to s. res. 430. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 430, expressing support for the designation of may 1, 2014, a silver star service banner day. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, the motion to reconsider be label label -- be laid on the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask consent the senate proceed to s. res. 431. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 431 honoring military children during the national month of the military child. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, the motion to reconsider be laid on the table, there be no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the senate, when it
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completes its business tonight, it adjourn until 9:30 a.m. tomorrow morning, may 1, that following the prayer and pledge, the morning hour deemed expired, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day, that following leader remarks the senate be in a period of morning business until 11:15 with senators permitted to speak for up to ten minutes each with the time equally divided and controlled between the two leaders or their designees. at 11:15 the senate proceed to executive session to consider calendar numbers 591, 592 and 575 with provisions remaining in effect. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: there will be a series of votes at 11:15, another series at 1:45. if there is no further business to come before the senate, i ask it adjourn under the previous order. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until senate stands adjourned until
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making a lot of money, and i
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think that it was easy for them because they had been running around. the big boys. beautiful and tough and striven, and they were driven both for power and individualism, but, as they say, they could have been kept in a manner if they wanted. but they really were pushing for their independence. and so there was a fiery situation. >> to little remembered victorian sisters changed the course of women's rights in american history sunday night at 8:00 on c-span q&a. >> we will be taking a look at a a new book by c-span sundays at 8:00. c-span digital media web editor joining us.
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why do a book. >> it is our eight collection of stories here on c-span. and it's mainly to share the stories. this sunday evening program which airs at 8:00 started five years ago and became q&a 15 years later. and so the stories have been told over the years are worth bringing from the screen to the printed page. >> what is in the book? >> well, there is depth to this book that there has not been for previous books, a number of different sections. we have five sections in the book beginning with stories and american history, media in society, money, politics, and post 9/11 america. the chapters themselves -- the book shape itself.
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the book themselves and the stories are kind of a reflection of our times and the depth and breadth of q&a over the years. >> what is the format of the book and have it come together?e together? > guest: >> you have one guest for one hour, and you go through an in-depth discussion on whether it is a public policy issue, a personal storyissue or what hav. what we did is we took out the questions. they are there to facilitate answers. they fade away at a certain point. the answers are what matters. a minimal amount of editing we have allowed the guest in their own words to articulate their own story or viewpoint. whatever the issue or story is and let it speak for itself. what the viewer will get is basically the answers and and
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guest in their own words. host: what are some of your favorite stories? guest: it was a path of discovery for me and the team working on this. so many fascinating stories. just to mention one in particular, crystal right, the editor and publisher of talking about her politics and upbringing in virginia and how she was influenced by her parents. one thing we all know about this from american history is the isa parks moment where she forced to give up her seat and then you have history unfolding before you in the south. she said her mother said to her, before that happened i had my own rosa parks moment. she said what do you mean? she said i got on the bus in richmond and went to the back of and sat down and an
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older white gentleman got on the bus and asked me to give up my seat and she said what he wants me to do? i am rad at the back of the bus. what you have wrapped up in that moment was personal history, politics of public private policy. ofs is an extension everything we do here. a candid moment in an extended interview and revealed something about the guest that was fascinating and something about the country and the country's history. where can people learn more about the book and watch the interviews that have taken place over the years? guest: you can go to all the interviews at /sundayat8 you can click on any of the toes or images and be able
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watch the transcript. watch clips. you can watch those and read about the authors themselves. if they have websites you can look at that. quite a lot of information there. i think people will find it useful and interesting. 8:00.sunday at people can buy it now. what happens to the loyalties. they go to the educational foundation here at c-span. there are no profits. this was a collaborative effort. a lot of there were a lot of people involved in the process from people who make the program-two people who edited the interviews and work with brian to make it all come together. all of the proceeds go back into the continuation of the work that c-span does, and that is
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basically the educational foundation. emmanuel touhey, >> the senate today blocked further consideration of bill that would have raised the federal minimum hourly rate from $7.25 to $10.10 in our over 30 months. the vote was 54-42. the votes needed to move ahead with the bill. senator bob corker was the only republican who voted for the measure. all present democrats also supported the bill. here is some of the debate leading up to that vote. up to e minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. casey: mr. president, i mr. casey: mr. president, i >> mr. president, i rise this morning to talk about the matter before us, which is the minimum wage. today the senate will vote on cloture and the motion, the
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legislation that we are considering which would increase the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour of the course of three years. we don't know what the result will be today, but we are working to get as much support as possible because getting passed this first hurdle, of course, is essential to getting that bill passed, to getting americans who are working harder a fair shot at some economic security that they may not have right now. we have a lot of work to do because there are still people out there, especially here in washington, who are making arguments that don't make a lot of sense and to me don't make a lot of sense to the people of pennsylvania. where i come from, when someone marks a full day and a full week they shouldn't be -- most people believe they should have a fair shot at making not just a living
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but making sure that they have enough of a living that they can live outside of poverty. work 40 hours of we and be paid poverty wage which is unfortunately the case for far too many americans. increasing the minimum wage would help workers make ends meet, offered a way up the ladder to the middle class and booze in the economy that is boosting new spending. we know that that is the case. all the data and studies show that. we still have to make the case to folks here in washington. wages for most workers are not keeping up the cost of living, the cost of paying your mortgage or raising your family or other middle-class concerns. the pay of minimum-wage workers is not keeping up with inflation six years have passed since the last minimum-wage increase a was enacted. the gap between the haves and
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have-nots has widened substantially. the charge on my right, i think, tells a story about what could happen if we were able to pass an increase in the minimum wage. it is about givingish -- giving a fair shot down families and workers by raising the minimum wage. increasing the minimum wage of a lot of folks across the country more broadly. of course it helps working families. workers that would get a raise. 27 million workers across the country. there are very few things the united states said it could do today or this week that would provide that kind of direct economic jump-start to so many communities . the boost to gdp, $22 billion. again, very few things, if any, that we could pass here in the senate that would provide that kind of jump start to the
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economy when we needed. the number of jobs created across the country, some 85,000. i know in pennsylvania this would have a job increase impact in the thousands. look at the number for women. this is mostly an issue about women who are working every day trying to support their families it also has an impact obviously on children. women that would get a raise, over 15 million women across the country. i would like to hear someone who is on the other side of the aisle demonstrate to win in across this country what they'll do in place of that if we will say now is not the time. what about those women who are shouldering most of the bird to raise their family and make their way in a tough economy?
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children with apparent that would get a raise, 14 million children what is your answer? or what is your strategy to give a boost that really more appropriately stated, a measure of security for our children. there is little, if not -- i'm not sure i could name another action this senate could take that to make sure that those children have a measure of security they do not have today, they do not have today even in an economy that in some parts of the economy is getting a little better. americans' overall lifted out of poverty, 2 million americans will be lifted out of poverty if we pass the increase in the minimum wage. .. other side, is there an action, is there a bill, is there a vote, is there a step we can take in the senate this week or next
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week that would do the same to help 14 million children to lift two million americans out of poverty? i don't know of any. i'll wait and see what their answer is. i hope that they will answer that question, because they should. this is a debate, and they should answer that question. tell us what you will do to help 14 million children if you're not going to support lifting, or raise the minimum wage. less spending on food stamps, $4.6 billion per year. we hear attacks all the time unjustified though they are, from the other side about the snap program. we used to call it the food stamp program. they're always talking about we need to reduce spending in that program. well, instead of cutting people like so many in this body seem to want to do every day of the week, voting for budgets that would slash support for people that need help, just having a measure of food security, being
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able to feed their families, instead of doing that, whyon't instead of doing that, whyon't just having a measure of food security being able to feed their families. instead of doing that why don't you work with raising the minimum wage and lift them out of poverty and let them out of the dependence that they have to have on an important program like the s.n.a.p. program. that's the better way to reduce those numbers. it's not just a question of what is right. it's a question of the best economic strategy or that worker, for his or her family and for the economy overall. finally veterans that would get a raise. 1 million veterans. now we hear speeches all the time. don't we here in washington? both sides of the aisle and it in most cases and almost every case they are heartfelt and they are honest about the support that one senator or group of senators provided to help our veterans. i have no doubt the people are
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severe -- sincere when they say that there are opportunities around here where you can take action. you can cast a vote that has a direct benefit not just on 14 million children but in this case on 1 million veterans so you have to ask yourself if you can cast that vote what are you going to do? what are you going to do with the power that you have to cast your vote to stand up and say i support an increase in the minimum wage? if you are not going to do that, if you are not going to vote for this or ever vote for this and what you going to do to help those same 1 million veterans were the same 14 million children or those 15.3 million women? if you have an answer for that you have a different strategy that will get us to these numbers let's hear it. i would like to hear the answer to that. i haven't heard it yet. maybe i haven't been listening but i will try to listen closely to what the arguments are in the other side of the aisle.
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so the hashtag raise the wage is a good way to summarize why this is so fundamental that really so simple. it's about giving people a fair shot. it's not about some program that people are asking for to be created. it's about basic fairness and giving folks a fair shot in the economy which is still very tough for a lot of families. mr. president i think it's critical that we emphasize some of these numbers but it's also i think the human trauma that so many families have been living through. so many of them that have lived through the recession and are still climbing out of the hole they were in. they may have lost their job. they may have run out of unemployment insurance. they may have lost their home in the course of all that and there is no question and it is
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irrefutable that the cascading effect of that trauma hits not only the worker and maybe if they have a spouse or partner the person standing next to them but it also has a cascading effect down to the children as well in the family. then to all of us. we all have a stake in this. the idea that raising the minimum wage is about some other group of people out there who are far away from us makes no sense. if you raise the minimum wage the economy for everyone gets better and you know spoke some have to take my word for it. over 600 economists, 600, not six or 10 but 600 economists including seven nobel laureates have signed a letter stating their support for raising the minimum wage to $10.10 because it would be good for workers and it would not, not have a negative effect on jobs and
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would even provide a boost to economic activity. i'm not going to read the whole letter is to present that the letter will be released in january this year. what they read a statement and then i will conclude. this is the letter from 600 economists in january. quote at a time when persistent high unemployment is putting enormous downward pressure on wages such a minimum-wage minimum wage increase will provide a much-needed boost to the earnings of low-wage workers in recent years there has been an important development in the academic literature on the effective increase in the minimum wage unemployment. with the weight of evidence, the weight of evidence now showing that increases in the minimum wage have had little or no, let me say it again, little or no negative effect on the employment of minimum wage workers. even during times of weakness in the labor market. research suggests that a minimum wage increase could have a small
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stimulative effect on the economy has low-wage workers spend their additional earnings raising demand and job growth and providing some help on the jobs front unquote. now that's a long statement by 600 economists, very measured. it's not inflating numbers and saying this is going to cure all of our economic challenges or all of our economic woes but as a clear and unequivocal endorsement of raising the minimum wage. i would add to that with all due respect to those smart economists the data here. so i will conclude and let me just make one more point and i will conclude. i don't have it in front of me but one of the organizations that has endorsed the increase in the minimum wage is the american academy of pediatrics. why? because they know a lot about taking care of kids.
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they know a lot about how to provide the best health care for kids kids. they know a lot about the traumas and the difficulties a lot of children face especially if they are poor or if there low wage family getting low wages. that child is impacted. there's no doubt about that. all the science tells us and all the literature tells us that, but if the american academy of pediatrics is saying we should raise the minimum wage because it's good for kids than the 600 economists are saying it's good for the economy and so much other information is saying it will help our veterans, a million veterans in 14 million kids, what is the argument over there against it? i have heard some of the arguments that i have not heard an argument yet that says they have a strategy on the other side of this debate that will help 15 million -- 15.3 million women that will directly help 14 million children and that will help
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1 million veterans and boost our economy on top of it. i would do for this even if there wasn't a boost to the economy because we could help people individually but that's an added reason to be supportive of this. so this is long overdue, long overdue. we shouldn't be having this debate every five, six or eight years. we should raise the minimum wage appropriately for a are reasonable number that make sense and then index it so we can take this issue off the table. it would increase appropriately as it should over time. if we did that in the 60s or 70's the minimum wage would be not just higher than it is todae than $10.50 an hour, something higher than that. so if you are unalterably opposed to raising the minimum wage i would hope, i would hope you would have a strategy to make sure that 14 million kids are benefited by your action, by your build.over 20 years but by
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some other legislative vehicle and you should have a strategy to make sure 1 million veterans have some measure of economic security they don't have now and you should be able to answer with the american academy of pediatrics said is good for children. if you can answer those kinds of questions that i would love to take a look at your build but if you can't, you have got some explaining to do. so madam president i will yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. >> it the senator withhold? >> i will. >> senator. >> thank you. i want to thank my colleague for his words on the minimum wage, very, very important points raised in terms of that letter from those economists and the american pediatric association
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just adds wonderfully to the debate. i rise today madam president to support, like my colleague from pennsylvania, an increase in the federal minimum wage. i'm a proud co-sponsor of the minimum wage fairness act which would give 16.5 million americans a much deserved raise. i'm incredibly proud of the importance that minnesota took to raise the minimum wage earlier this week, just a few weeks ago, earlier this month. a few weeks ago the governor and the minnesota state legislature took this big step for workers and families and because of this hundreds of thousands of hard-working minnesotans will themselves receive a raise. this is a big deal. for this increase minnesota state minimum wage was actually lower than the federal minimum wage.
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i would like to talk a little bit about why the minnesota has taken this important step. minnesotans believe that if you work full time, 52 weeks a year you should be able to put food on the table and a roof over your family's head. they believe if you work hard in america you should have the chance to work your way up into the middle class. as i have traveled around minnesota, people all over the state who have been working long, long hours and yet struggle to support their families, to work their way to the middle class and provide a brighter future for their families. as a state we recognize that there were too many people working really hard at one, two and sometimes three jobs and we are still struggling to get by. parents have been wondering how they are going to deal to pay
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for their kids college or even how to make the next car payment instead they have been working 60 hour weeks and missing out on spending precious time with their children. that is why i am proud that minnesota has now joined 21 other states with minimum wages higher than the federal minimum and in washington i'm going to keep working to do my part to help in de soto workers. recent research confirms that what we see in minnesota is happening across america. in a survey last year of surveys surveys -- workers two-thirds of the workers said they are not meeting or just meeting their basic living expenses. two-thirds of these workers report needing public assistanc. two in five said they can't afford an additional education
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and training. with wages too low these workers are trapped. they are trapped in poverty. spain now the economy is getting better but raising the minimum wage is about doing everything we can to make sure it gets better for everyone. last year our nation's largest businesses all right good profits. the market finished last year up over 26%. its best return since the 1990s. raising the minimum wage is about making sure that minnesotans and workers across the country get to be a part of this improving economy. that is why minnesota has taken this important step. we know that a strong minimum wage and a strong middle-class go hand-in-hand. that is why i support raising the federal minimum wage to a level that allows people to work their way to a better life, work
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their way to a better life. for decades, the federal minimum wage has lost its value. if the federal minimum wage had kept pace with inflation since its peak value in the 1960s today would be worth over $10.50 an hour. today the federal minimum wage is just $7.25 an hour. so when families have had to pay more for food and rent and utilities, childcare and education, the minimum wage not only hasn't kept up, it's gone down. and it's not just minimum wage workers who haven't seen an increase in wages. since the 1970s we have seen worker productivity grow by 135% while the average wages for middle-class workers have not
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changed. so americans are working harder than ever but average wages are stuck and the minimum wage, actually it's been declining. now let me tell you about what the minimum -- raising the minimum wage would mean to one minnesotan. her name is -- and she's the mother of two and works at the airport as a cleaner where she makes a low wage. because she couldn't make ends meet she had to take a second job assisting passengers in wheelchairs who need help. she has been doing this for four years and during that time she has received only one raise worth just 80 cents an hour. she doesn't get vacation days or six days for time off with her
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children. she wants to help her children finish college and they want to finish college so they can be sure that if they work hard, that will be a path out of poverty and into the middle class. for her, even though she works over 60 hours per week she and her family are just barely scraping by. bringing the minimum wage back to a level that can support a family is the first step in restoring the promise that if you work hard you can build a better life for yourself and your family. sometimes people ask why raise the minimum wage to $9.50 an hour as we did in minnesota or to $10.10 as we want to do. they say, why not leave minimum-wage workers alone and figure out things for themselves now i don't believe that raising the minimum wage is going to solve all the problems the
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working families face today. they need more than the minimum wage. they need good jobs and good schools and good roads to provide a better future for themselves and for their children but i support raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour because it's a wage that says americans value work. it's a minimum guarantee that anyone who shows up 40 hours a week ready to work should be able to provide food and shelter for themselves and their children and should not live in poverty. other people say that we don't need to raise the minimum wage because it's not working families who earn minimum wage. instead they say it's mainly teenagers in their first job to earn the minimum wage. no, in fact the vast majority of workers who would get a raise under this bill are working adults, working adults including
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approximately 350,000 adults in minnesota. one quarter of parents including over 85,000 parents in our state the parents would see a raise from the bill we are considering are the parents of 14 million children. an estimated 150 of them in minnesota. these are kids the american pediatric association says do this. these are kids who you know -- we know the kids who have depravation have trauma. there are different kinds of depravation and we know it makes it harder for them to learn. it changes their brain chemistry
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to be into that much stress. so let's do it for these kids. the majority, 56% of minnesotans who would be affected by an increase our women. nationwide one in five working mothers would see a raise under this bill, one in five working mothers. and 6.8 million workers and their families would be lifted out of poverty. raising the minimum wage is good for working families and it's good for the economy. it boosts economic activity and helps local businesses. a study from the federal reserve bank of chicago found that increasing the federal minimum wage $10 an hour could boost gdp by up to .3 percentage points. a recent analysis of state employment data goldman sachs noted that based on their
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analysis of states that increased their minimum wage at the start of 2014 employment impact if any from a higher federal minimum wage would be small relative to the normal volatility in the market. the higher minimum wage -- i would ask the chair for about two minutes for a minute and a half. >> is there objection? without objection. >> in that case, two minutes. a higher minimum wage also helps our economy because increasing the minimum wage boost the purchasing power of consumers and creates more customers for local businesses three people earning minimum wage spend the money they are earning. the economic policy institute estimates that the increased economic activity from increased to $10.10 minimum wage could create 85,000 new jobs and
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boosts gdp by $22.2 billion over three years of implementation. increasing the minimum wage helps businesses in another way to map. workers who are better paid are also more productive and less likely to quit. that means businesses save on recruiting and training costs. it also means they have better more loyal and hard-working employees. businesses in minnesota understand this. a few months ago i spoke with danny schwartz the owner of common roots café in minneapolis. danny pays its employees a minimum of $11 per hour plus benefits like paid time off and health insurance. danny has written quote overtime of the businesses will see what i have seen that paying people more yields more for the bottom line. it's easier to recruit and retain people. happier employees are more likely to provide better customer service. low overt -- lower turnover means dramatically lower training costs and better employee
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performance. danny understands his business will do better if his workers are doing better. it's time that congress follow minnesota's example. the minimal wage is about making sure the work pays. it's about the american dream. if you work hard and take responsibility you can put a roof over your head, provided decent life for your children help them get ready for the future. it's been too long since the federal minimum wage kept that promise to america's workers and their children and that is why we need to raise it today. i thank the chair, madam president thank you. >> madam president. >> the senator from massachusetts. >> madam president i am proud to stand here today in support of raising the minimum wage. no person in america should work full-time and not earn enough to
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be above the poverty level. the poverty level in the united states in 2014 is about $23,000 for a family of four. today, someone who works with minimum wage for 40 hours a wee. no one should work 40 hours a week and be given a salary that does not lift them and their families up and out of poverty. that is just absolutely wrong. millions of people in our country have been trying to climb into the middle class that but no matter how hard they work they are stuck in the same place. in america today nearly half of those who are in the bottom fifth of income workers will stay there as adults. tens of millions of americans seem to scale the economic
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ladder but they can never get off the ground. that is unacceptable. it's immoral and that needs to change. raising the minimum wage is a first step to fight income inequality in our country. we must help restore the dignity and the value of work and help millions of families escape poverty by increasing the national minimum wage. today more than 46 million americans are living in poverty. the average american household made less than -- in 2012 than it did in 1989. that is wrong. it is just plain wrong. over these last 20 years the top 1% of wage earners in america have seen their incomes skyrocket by 86%. in the years ahead it's going to get worse for those making minimum wage. over the next five years the real value of the minimum wage is projected to decline by 10%
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or over $1400 of purchasing power for a full-time worker unless we increase the minimum wage. and what does that mean? it means americans will be able to buy less if we don't do it and it will be harder for families to get i. the poor will effectively become more impoverished even as their working 40 hours a week. they get poorer and four and poorer because that minimum wage does not lie as much as it did the year before in the year before in the year before. the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. that's a system that we have right now unless we take action to make sure that those who earned minimum wage are keeping pace with what it takes to buy the food to pay the rent, to pay for the schools for the children and their families. if we don't do that they just get poorer and poorer while
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continuing to work 40 hours a week. we know that low-income americans would benefit from raising the minimum wage but they are not the only ones. hundreds of small businesses my home state of massachusetts have signed on to petition for a fair minimum wage of $10.50 per hour. that petition says raising minimum wage makes good business sense. that same small-business petition says workers are also customers. they are right. increasing the purchasing power of minimum-wage workers help stimulate the economy. research has shown time and time again minimum-wage workers spend the additional income they receive in the minimum wages increase. if we increase the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour 28 million workers would receive about $35 billion in additional wages raising the minimum wage does not cause job losses even during periods of recession rate most
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minimum wage workers need the income to make ends meet and spend it quickly. it goes right into the economy. economists believe it will actually boost the economy by creating about 85,000 new jobs and increasing economic activity by $22 billion. that means everyone in our economy should be on board. raising the minimum wage is about giving families security opportunity and dignity. the security to know that they can make ends meet the opportunity to climb out of poverty into the middle class and the dignity to know they're getting paid a fair wage for a hard days work and that is why i am proud to stand here today to urge my colleagues to increase the minimum wage so we give america that raise which it needs for those who are working so hard for our economy. i yield back the balance of my time. >> good morning businesses
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closed. and the previous order the time until 12 noon will be equally divided and controlled between two leaders or their designees. >> madam president. >> the minority whip. >> madam president i think people listening to the debate on the minimum wage issue may be a little bit confused because we all want to see hard-working american families work their way toward the american dream. but we are we are not going to be a will to do that by the federal government setting wages for restaurants, small businesses and other people across the country. now i have no objection obviously if massachusetts or minnesota or some other state wants to raise minimum wage that that's their choice. what they are now asking is for the federal government, for the nation to set a minimum wage at a level which will destroy
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between a half a million and 1 million jobs. that's not just me talking. that's the congressional budget office which is the official scorecard for the united states congress. so if you think about it, if you're a small business and your business -- vaguest expenses wages for the people who work there if the federal government comes in and says forget about your local conditions in north dakota or in texas, we are going to say that from washington d.c. that everybody has got to raise wages by 40%. i can imagine them -- there being many small businesses per ticket that can absorb a 40% increase in their overhead. i mean this is going to hurt low-wage earners who are currently employed and that is what the congressional budget office said and it's going to
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hurt the economy. now i heard the distinguished senator from minnesota say the economy is doing great. well, i guess he must have missed the latest report on the first quarter of 2014. because of the bad weather we had an unseasonably cold first quarter. the economy grew at .1%. in other words it almost went into what would be a negative growth or a recession. recession is defined as two quarters or set of negative growth but my point is the strong growth is talking about in the economy is a figment. it's not the facts and we need to deal with the facts on the ground. so i wonder sometimes why public opinion holds congress and washington in such low esteem.
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actually i don't wonder why. my conclusion is that they think that we are out of touch. we are out of touch with regular american families, people who are working hard to make ends meet, get the kids ready for school and to live their version of the american dream. 27% by think is the latest statistic i saw. 27% of the american people think that we are on the right track. now that is shocking number so 73% think we are on the wrong track. so what is the old saying that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome. well let's not do the same thing over and over again, keep america on the wrong track and
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engage in a policy decision here on this minimum-wage is 40% increase in minimum wage which will actually hurt our people than it helps. so this is not just my view. there was a poll that came out yesterday that said that basically once people understood that people would be put out of work by increasing the minimum wage 58% said it's not worth it. 58% of the respondents said it's not worth it. now it's nice, it would be great if we lived in a world where washington dictates what wages will be an all of a sudden peace love and happiness will break out. the age of aquarius because washington is somehow distributing free money and it didn't come from somewhere. it didn't come out of somebody's pocket or it's part of someone's overhead. or it didn't have any negative impact. that's not the world we live in.
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and again it's not just public opinion. it's not just by opinion. it's not just the congressional budget office's opinion about the job-killing nature of this dramatic 40% proposed increase in minimum wage. president clinton's economic adviser gene spurling had just left this administration the obama administration back in 1998 wrote a memo to president clinton on a similar proposal being made to raise the minimum wage at that time 41% so now the harkin bill that we are going to vote on here shortly proposes to raise the minimum wage 40%. so this is back in 1998. james burling writing to president clinton on a proposed increase of the minimum wage by 41%. so for all practical purposes the same sort of proposal. so this is what mr. spurling wrote to president clinton.
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he said your entire economic team believes that this approach is too aggressive and our concern that senator kennedy's proposal and senator teddy kennedy's proposal back in 98 could prove damaging to the employment prospects of low-skilled workers. again, that is what the congressional budget office has said about this bill. and he goes on to say as well as to the general macroeconomic performance of the economy. so what are our friends across the aisle proposing we do when the economy grew at .1% this last quarter? to administer a body blow to this anemic economic growth. that is again not just my opinion. this is déjà vu all over again as i said. and i guess if you are around
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washington long enough you are going to see this movie being played over and over again. the fact is madam president that our economy is weaker today than it was in 1998. sure unemployment is going down slowly but the economy is growing too slowly and the number of people in the workforce is the lowest it's been for the last 30 years, the so-called labor participation rate. so what did president clinton do when his economic advisers said don't do it mr. president? while it's good politics perhape economy and it will put people out of work. president clinton to his credit decided not to pursue that particular 41% increase in minimum wage. but i mention mentioned that is a sad contrast with the current situation where president obama seeing his favorable --
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favorability ratings have the lowest they have been since he became president is trying to change the subject and trying to basically make a political point when the fact is making the political point will actually hurt a lot of hard-working americans. so the majority leaders decided that rather than spend the week debating legislation that would actually create jobs we should spend debating a proposal that would destroy jobs. now we all have known that a massive minimum-wage increase like this can be a job killer and so it really wasn't surprising when we saw that quantification by the congressional budget office saying that this proposal could destroy up to a million jobs. yet i didn't hear the distinguished senator from massachusetts are from minnesota when i was listening here talk at all about the congressional budget office report. they want to ignore that.
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they want us to believe that this increase in the minimum wage would have little or no effect on employment and maybe it would have a positive effect. i heard the senator from massachusetts make that claim. the pip people who actually run america's businesses know better and you know i had dinner the other night with some folks in the restaurant business some of whom i will mention here in a moment and most of these folks were pretty successful businesspeople, the folks i happen to have dinner with. but they started washing dishes or busing tables are waiting on those tables, they started at the bottom and work their way up because they could find a job, get their hand on the first rung of the economic ladder and then put the other hand of the next one and work their way up to now where they are very successful businesspeople. but they understand how
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businesses work. they understand the negative consequences of this bad policy coming from washington d.c.. just ask robert mayfield from austin, texas, where i live. mr. mayfield has been in business for 35 years now and he is pretty successful. he also knows a thing or two about the consequences of labor costs, rising labor costs. that is what we are talking about. for a businesses is the overhead, this is the cost they have to pay out of their income. andy wants members of congress, mr. mayfield, wants members of congress to know that he strongly opposes this proposal because it will cost people jobs so here's how he described cinema quote. he says what's most devastating about an increase in the minimum wage is that costco up. for a business that is what wages are. it's the cost of doing business.
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as a business owner i have to raise prices. so you think you can pay somebody $10.10 an hour for working at mcdonald's and it won't have an impact on the cost of your big mac? well you were living in a fantasy world if you think you won't have an impact and that is what mr. mayfield says. but he says i have to raise prices if this happens and sometimes the market won't bear it. so in the end jobs will be lost and service will suffer. he says the people in congress wanting to pass a minimum-wage bill don't know anything more about how a business works than a hog knows about sunday school. what makes it worse is obamacare is hanging over our heads and i heard this again today from a
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friend of mine from san antonio louis barrios whose family has run mexican restaurants in san antonio for many many years. he said the combination of obamacare is and now this proposed minimum-wage increase, i will tell you exactly what he told me. he said right now we would like to pay a single mom who is working in our restaurants to take orders. he said if congress lifts the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour we will have no choice but to replace that server, that waitress with an ipad. that is what is happening in a lot of fast food restaurants these days. here again congress shouldn't operate in a vacuum without knowledge or an awareness of what the consequences might be. i'm not suggesting any of our friends who are advocating this minimum-wage increase want to put that single mom out of work.
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but if we are to embrace that policy that is what louis barrios told me this morning would likely happen. people like robert mayfield and louise barrios are supported by countless economists. we have the folks that are asked to do in the work and then we have the big thinkers like the economist who studied this issue and concluded that this size is minimum-wage increase is just a really, really bad idea in terms of the economy. so more than 500 of those economists including several nobel laureates recently signed an open letter to federal policymakers expressing their opposition to this 40% and among wage hike. their letters said it this way. it's a quote any of the businesses that pay their workers minimum wage operate on extremely tight profit margins.
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with any increase in the cost of labor threatening this delicate balance that's what robert mayfield said, can't absorb it without passing it along to the customers and increasing the prices that they have to pay or i may have to lay some people off. i may have to close my business altogether because they are operating on tight margins. when so many economists in so many folks who are working across america are telling us the same thing and the truth is it makes perfect common sense. it would be the height of arrogance for us to ignore their concerns but that is what president obama a majority leader reid are asking us to do here today. now i fully share and i've made this point since the beginning. i fully share her colleagues concerned about the stagnant wages that are being earned by american workers all across
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america. indeed since the so-called obama economic recovery, that was after the recession of 2008 but after the obama economic recovery started kicking in june june 2009 the median household income in this country has gone down by $1800, down. so i understand the concern. but you know i find it almost a little depressing that congress 's only answer to that is to raise the 40% in minimum wage which will put people out of work, shut down small businesses when there is a lot better ways for us to address and i will talk about that in a moment. raising the minimum wage by 40% will not grow the economy. it will not create jobs. it will do the opposite.
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of course the truth is and we read this in newspapers a couple of weeks ago, we all know what is happening here so let's talk about the 800-pound gorilla here in the senate chamber. well the truth is the president and majority leader reid don't expect this bill to pass because they actually are very intelligent people and they know the facts as i have just described them here on the floor of the senate. but this is all about politics. this is about trying to make this side of the aisle look bad and hard-hearted and to try to rescue this midterm election coming up in november because they see the president's approval rating going down. they see a number of midterm races for the senate in play and they have got to do something. they are desperate. obamacare didn't work out like they thought. you can't keep what you have if you like it and premiums didn't
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go down $2500 if you're an average family of four in two camps, no you can't keep your doctor in too many cases in the health insurance exchanges. so they are desperate. well we know from reporting in "the new york times" and elsewhere that this minimum-wage bill, this show vote that we are going to have her shortly as part of a larger messaging package created in collaboration with the democratic senatorial campaign committee. so that is not me talking. that is the admission by the leadership on the other side of the aisle. this is not about actually solving the problem. this is about political theater, courtesy of majority leader reid the real tragedy is that millions of americans don't have any time or any patients for this sort of political theater
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and partisan gamesmanship because the numbers are very troubling. the obama recovery is five years old and yet 10.5 million people are still unemployed including 3.7 million people who have been unemployed for more than six months. with an additional 7.4 million people working part-time because they can't find full-time work or because of obamacare that their employers have taken full-time work and put them on part-time work in order to avoid the employer penalties. so it's true, the hard-working american family needs some help but the truth is this remedy that is being offered today, this medicine to try to supposedly solve the problem will just make things worse. so i have a proposition to make to our friends across the aisle.
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if they would work with us, they would leave this by the wayside in focus for a minute on trying to work with us to engage in solutions that would help grow the economy and help reduce unemployment and help raise wages across the nation, then we would gladly embrace them. we have introduced a number of bills that would do exactly that now i know the distinguished senator who is presiding comes from an energy producing state like mine and this is no mystery to her but in texas, like north dakota, there are a lot of really good jobs that people don't have the skills necessarily to qualify for those good jobs. so i have been in fredericksburg texas recently where they are training welders at the community college there. you know a welder can make $100,000 or more a year. and then they hermine basin in
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midland odessa in texas truck drivers can make $100,000 a year. it is unbelievable what this renaissance of an american energy has done to our economy and job creation but one thing we could do that would be a heck of a lot more constructive in this show vote and this partisan gamesmanship would be to improve our workforce training programs. you know the program programs, and try to figure ways to get people the training they needed order to qualify for these good high-paying jobs that are being created by this wonderful renaissance in american energy. and we could do some other things like we could try to reign in some of the regulations which i hear about day in and day out for my constituents that are constraining businesses. we could approve the keystone xl pipeline, which makes a lot of sense. it would create about 42,000 jobs. it would give us a safe source
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of energy from a friendly country like canada, and we could do something else constructive. we could provide some relief for those people who have had full-time jobs turned into part-time jobs because of obamacare. we could do that. the senate from maine senator collins, senators scott from south carolina has got a bill that would do just exactly that. but unfortunately madam president while i'm an optimistic person i am not particularly optimistic about the majority leader or the president changing their tactics in this election year. so, that is why tragically under these circumstances we find ourselves here at today debating a bill that will actually kill jobs rather than one that would create jobs. what a terrible lost opportunity that is.
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adam president i see my friend from maryland getting ready to speak so what i would like to do as i would ask unanimous consent that several letters that have been provided to us by organizations like the american hotel and lodging association, the wholesale marketers association among other business organizations including the u.s. chamber of commerce, that these be made part of the record at the end of my comments. all of these letters are opposing this 40% minimum wage increase and i would ask that with out unanimous consent. >> without objection. >> i would finally ask unanimous consent to make part of the record a column written by a gentleman by the name of michael saltzman in the indy star newspaper entitled wage hike cost is no myth. this is a source for this information we got about the clinton archives in this memo that gene spurling wrote to
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president clinton advising him that even though it might be the temporary politics it would actually hurt a lot of low-wage workers and i would ask unanimous consent that be made part of the record. >> without objection. >> madam president i.d. of the floor. >> madam president i want to comment on the vote that we took earlier today on whether or not to proceed to a bill that would increase the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. now madam president, it has been several years since we have increased the minimum wage and i support an increase in the minimum wage but i do not believe that at a time when our economy is so fragile as is indicated by the very slow increase in gdp that was reported this morning, that we can afford to increase the minimum wage by some 39%.
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i would note that a president that just a year ago president obama was suggesting that we should increase the minimum wage to $9 an hour. i don't see any change in the economic conditions that would have caused him to abruptly change his position and now the abdicating $10.10 an hour. i know madam president that there are many low income families that are really struggling in this country and i believe that our economy could accommodate an increase in the minimum wage. but the congressional budget office, a nonpartisan entity, has told us that the consequences of going to $10.10 an hour would be a loss of some
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500,000 jobs at a time when our economy simply cannot afford that kind of loss. now i have talked with numerous employers in maine. they care deeply about their employees. they in most cases are willing and able to pay more. in fact many of them do pay more. in fact all of them pay more than the federal minimum wage because maine's minimum wage to $7.50 an hour instead of $7.25 an hour so we are already above the federal minimum wage. but what they told me is that if there is too much of an increase to rapidly they will be forced
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to shrink their workforces or not ring on those summer part-time employees, those high school students, those college students, those individuals who don't have the training and experience that is necessary to be productive in the job for which they are hired at that time. madam president there is a huge area of compromise available here between $7.25 and $10.10. and i think it speaks to what is wrong with washington today that we were placed in a situation where it was take it or leave it rather than trying to come together and offer amendments and debate the level that might
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be acceptable to members of this body and to our colleagues in the house. a level that would not cause dramatic job losses which would hurt the very people we are trying to help and yet would recognize that we do need to increase the minimum wage by a reasonable amount to help struggling low income families. so madam president, i have to express my disappointment and frustration that we cannot seem to have a normal legislative process where ideas could be offered as compromises between $7.25 and $10.10, where members could bring other ideas to the
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senate floor and how we might spur job creation, on how we could improve job training programs which is a huge issue in this country i have taught to so many employers in maine reticular a. in the. that have jobs available but cannot find the skilled workers to fill those jobs. i had had a triptych and enlightening meeting with union representatives who told me that we need to do a better job at her community colleges and training workers for the great jobs far above minimum wage that exist in my state. so there are so many ideas out there that would help us improve the financial condition of our low income families, from
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increasing the minimum wage by an amount that did not cause massive job losses to improving our job training programs so that we can fix this mismatch between the jobs that are available and the skills that are workers have. i would note that the department of commerce secretary testified that there are 4 million jobs that are unfilled nationwide because of that mismatch it available jobs and the skills needed to fill them. there are other proposals to give tax incentives to small businesses. we have a lot of very important tax incentive that encouraged higher -- hiring to expire at the end of last year, the work opportunity tax credit expired. why not extend that not only to those groups who qualify now but
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also to people who have been unemployed for a long time. to encourage employers to take a chance on that, to bring them into the workforce where they want to be. we could also include other provisions. for example, i have a bipartisan bill with senator donnelly and senator manchin and members of my side of the aisle that would fix the definition of full-time work under obamacare so that it would be 40 hours a week and not 30 hours a week. we would go back to the standard definition of 40 hours a week. there are tax incentives having to do with bonus depreciation and small business expenses that would encourage small businesses to make the investments so that they can hire more employees. madam president, we ought to have a full debate on all of
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these options, not just stop with one vote on whether or not to proceed to one bill to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 with no amendments allowed, with no alternative proposals being permitted. .. low-income workers who are struggling to get by, and i believe we could come up with a compromise that would enjoy bipartisan support. i'm not saying it would be easy, but we ought to at least try, madam president. and i have talked with colleagues on both sides of the
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aisle who are willing to try, and we need to be given that opportunity, madam president. each and every member in this body cares about individuals who are working two jobs, who may have two minimum wage jobs because they're trying to support their families. i think that we could come together, but we can't come together unless we are allowed to offer alternatives, to fully debate the issues and to bring forth ideas to >> and to bring forth ideas to improve job training programs and encourage the creation with better paying jobs in what remains a very anemic economy. thank you, madam


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